What does Homecoming Scotland 2014 have in store for our region?

Caroline Packman  - VisitScotland With more than 430 Homecoming Scotland events planned so far, 2014 is shaping up to be an action packed year for both locals and visitors. To share the sense of building excitement from those at the heart of the planning, Director of Homecoming Scotland 2014 Caroline Packman takes a look at what the year has in store for us.

What is Homecoming Scotland 2014?         

For those who aren’t so familiar with Homecoming, it’s a celebration of Scotland; an opportunity for each and every one of us to celebrate our ‘home’, but also for those with links to Scotland to explore their heritage. Launched under a fire and light spectacular across the country on Hogmanay, Homecoming Scotland 2014 brings twelve exciting months of fantastic events celebrating all that’s great about our country and placing the spotlight on our greatest assets and icons.

At the heart of the year lies an inspirational programme of events and festivals which fall under five themes: ancestry, natural, active, food and drink and creative.  Running until 31st December, 2014, we’ve made sure the event programme has something for everyone, whether it’s longing to hear the skirl of the bagpipes at Piping Live, sampling a traditional Highland Games, climbing to the top of the Forth Road Bridge as part of the Forth Bridges Festival, sipping on a single malt as part of Whisky Month, or mixing with the best of today’s music performers at The MTV Europe Music Awards.  We have so much to look forward to!

The Highlands & Islands have a number of fantastic events as part of this year’s programme including:

  • Whisky Month (May) which includes Spirit of Speyside Festival (1-5 May)
  • Orkney Nature Festival (10-18 May)
  • Year of Ancient Ancestors (15-25 May)
  • Hebridean Celtic Festival (16-19 July)
  • Shetland Fiddle Frenzy (3 – 8 August)
  • Harris Tweed Hebrides Tattoo (8-9 August)
  • Celebration of the Centuries (9-10 August)
  • 2014 World Sheepdog Trials (3-6 September)
  • The Inverness Highland Meeting (12-14 September)
  • Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running (27-28 September)
  • Highland Homecoming (1 Sep-31 October)

For all the Homecoming event listings please visit www.homecomingscotland.com

Something for everyone!

For me, what makes 2014 so special is the fact that there really is something for everyone – why not have a look through the varied events programme or check out the Homecoming Scotland advert on a TV screen near you – catch it here.  As well as the TV advert, a promotional campaign has been launched on radio and in print.  We also have a special Homecoming App, enabling users to search events, bookmark favourites, and check in while at events and take photos to seamlessly share with friends and family. Visitors can also download a special e-brochure.

You can reap rewards too

Of course, the Homecoming programme isn’t just geared up for visitors – tourism businesses can reap the rewards too! Scotland is taking centre stage with a programme of global events that represent an unprecedented opportunity for Scottish tourism businesses – for example, in 2009; the first Year of Homecoming saw 71% of Scottish Tourism businesses report a benefit.  These events are not just an opportunity for big attractions or city-based businesses

The Homecoming Toolkit is also available on visitscotland.org  and contains a range of free to use marketing tools to help support events and businesses.

So all that’s left to say is get at least one event in your diary, but most of all enjoy!

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